April 20, 2014

Online Forum Behavior

For the past 6 years, I have participated on an online forum that covers the state of Hungarian Football.  There are a Fires burning on online forumssmall number of “hopeful” Hungarian Football fans that are waiting for the resurrection of the “Golden Team” of the 1950s.  We religiously follow our beloved Hungarian National Team only to be disappointed every 2 years when they fail to make a major tournament.  The last time Hungary participated in a World Cup was in 1986 in Mexico.

Football is passion and passions brings out the worst or best in others.  The forum is going through the changes that often occur in groups where a choice is asked of its members to be with the forum leader or not.  Members come and go, but now there is a come to Jesus with the remaining members to pledge allegiance to the Forum Manager.

Now, if we follow the pattern of what is happening, it is a common in offline communities for people to become divided.  There seems to be a life cycle that starts with the following steps:

1.  Mutual Respect

2.  Cooperation

3.  Division

4.  Power Grab

There is a “Lord of the Flies” effect that seems to take hold.

Division leads to power grabs by individuals that leads to potential dictatorships for order.

I am going to explore this phenomenon further.  This behavior is not limited to online forum behavior but permeates our lives.  I have seen it in how organizations work too.  Competition breeds cooperation that denigrates into division which ultimately leads to a new congregation forming at another Church.

This common offline behavior can be seen occurring in online forums also.

More to come on this subject…

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Post By Paul Lorinczi (137 Posts)

Paul is an Internet consultant and President of TLL Ventures LLC. TLL Ventures is a small Internet marketing firm working with companies to maximize opportunities in eCommerce, business blogging, social media and search engine optimization to dominate their markets. My interests are in Entrepreneurial pursuits, soccer, music, and travel.

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  1. Update on the forum. The forum manager claims that the whole episode he created was an April Fools joke.

    If it was, it was a bad one.

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  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by indypaul. indypaul said: Online forums – how different are they from offline group behavior? Not much if you look at it. http://ping.fm/cDtup [...]

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